New York: Within four days of her appointment to the transition team of US president elect Barack Obama, controversies have gripped Sonal Shah. She is the only Indian-American listed in the team.
Three Indian-American organisations have started protesting on the grounds of her alleged links with Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA).
“Sonal Shah, the problem is her affiliation with the VHP of America. As you know, the VHP of America is affiliated with the Sangh Parivar organisation in India and the concern is that their philosophies are based on a very totalitarian, very divisive, very militaristic philosophy that is their ideology. And, that ideology goes completely against the kind of inclusive ideology that the Obama campaign was built on. So, I think, in that sense, it's a complete mismatch,” says Ashwini Rao from the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG).
The CAG was responsible for preventing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from getting a US visa but, Shah's defenders, including her brother Anand, have said that neither she nor their family had any connection with the VHP.
An advisor to the Obama campaign says that since Sonal Shah had already served in the Treasury Department when Bill Clinton was president, this issue "did not seem to have legs".
While the argument is that the criticism of Shah's appointment is coming from a small group of vocal liberals, if there are new revelations in the day to come, this issue may well be revisited.